Number Ranges – Internal or External ranges Best Practice Scenario
Speaking about the number ranges, I am trying to give a small write up where in I am presenting the best practice scenario for number ranges.
Old Numbers Vs New Numbers
Moving from Legacy system to New environment presents an opportunity to clean up the data.
It is very common that there will be duplicate entries in the legacy system and some master data that’s outdated.
With the new system, we will have an opportunity to get rid of the data that’s of no use for business. This also
reduces data maintenance costs.
If we go for Old Numbers (using legacy numbers in the new system also) and if there were
duplicates, it’s possible that there would be gaps in the numbers.
Because of the above reasons, Businesses go for new number ranges. Unless there is a specific
‘business reason’ it is strongly advised to go for new numbers.
Who decides Number Ranges (Internal or External)?
Master Data: There is some Master Data for which normally businesses go for external numbers – for
example, Finished Products – where number of records is very small (in a few thousands).
Businesses may want to ‘construct’ their numbers based on a particular criteria – for example,
Finished Products start with ‘1’ followed by Plant ‘0002’ then followed by Product Group ‘01’ and then a 5 digit number
10001 – this will give us number 100020110001. Users would be able to find very
easily what this product is and where it is produced etc., very easily.
Note:- Even here, every number has to be ‘constructed’ meticulously and it takes lot of efforts.
There is some Master Data for which normally businesses go for internal numbers – for
example, Customers or Raw materials – where number of records is very high (in few hundred thousands).
So, Sold-to customers could be from 1000000000 to 1999999999. It does not make sense to have
external number ranges here because it will break the backs of business team members!
Transaction Data: In general Transaction Data is always a candidate for ‘Internal Numbers’. I have
never seen any engagement going for external numbers here.
There will be high resistance from Business Users if existing numbers are going to be changed –
they already memorized everything and they (even we do) hate to lose association with old pals. 😕
We should present them following things here:
- How the duplicates effect the gaps in numbers
- How the SAP system STILL allows them to use old numbers to search new numbers.
- Involve them in ‘constructing’ the number ranges.
2. Let the system ‘manage’ numbers – it’s better to let system do the work for us rather than involving 100’s of users
While doing Data Migration, we follow a different method.We ask functional people to make every number range as ‘external’ and
then let ETL tool generate the numbers and load the data.
Once the data is loaded, all the number ranges are turned back to their original status.